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Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
After this pandemic passes, there must be a profound reckoning. I’m not referring to President Trump’s abysmal performance in the crisis; the election in November will render citizens’ judgment on that. No, there must be a reckoning with the profound failure of the United States’ domestic and foreign policies and priorities, a failure that was apparent even before Covid-19 revealed the catastrophic bankruptcy of our national security strategy.
Less than 30 years ago, with the end of the Soviet Union, the United States basked in the role of the world’s sole superpower. An establishment consensus quickly congealed. Scholars proclaimed the “end of history,” announcing that the US model—liberal democracy and market fundamentalism—was the ultimate endpoint of human progress. Corporate-led globalization would bring untold prosperity to the United States and spread it across the globe. America’s unrivaled military dominance would enable it to police an unruly world, spreading the blessings of democracy. Though partisan differences might exist in emphasis and rhetoric, the consensus—and the overweening arrogance—would be unassailable. The United States, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, asserted, was the “indispensable nation.” while an anonymous George W. Bush adviser boasted, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.